Bonus: Case Updates

February 26, 2024
Original Episodes

Episode 021 – Suzanne Morphew
Episode 025 – Harmony Montgomery
Episode 042 – Elnaz Hajtamiri
Episode 051 – Brandon Sheckels
Episode 079 – Kathleen Henry & Veronica Abouchuk

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Bite-Sized Crime. I want to start this episode off with a bit of a disclaimer: I’ve been fighting a sinus infection all week so my voice is a little bit off. But I still wanted to bring you the latest updates on some cases that I’ve covered in the past. Since the last update episode in January 2023, there has been significant movement in several cases, so I wanted to spend some time updating you on where they are now. I’ll give a quick overview of each case, but the original episodes are linked in the show notes if you’d like to go back and re-listen to get all the details.

The first case we’ll look at is from episode 021 – the case of Suzanne Morphew, who went missing in May of 2020. When Suzanne’s daughters couldn’t reach her by phone on Mother’s Day, they asked a neighbor to check on her. But although Suzanne’s car was in the driveway, no one was answering the door. Suzanne’s husband Barry was out of town – he asked the neighbor to see if Suzanne’s bicycle was in the garage, and it wasn’t. Working on the assumption that Suzanne had gone out for a bike ride and hadn’t returned home, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office launched a search along the Colorado Trail, a popular spot for cyclists. But all they found was Suzanne’s bike at the bottom of a ravine.

Investigators began to suspect that Barry Morphew may have been involved in his wife’s disappearance. Court documents revealed that Suzanne had been keeping extensive notes on Barry’s abusive behavior, including accusations of stalking and threatening her with a gun. Two months before she disappeared, Suzanne told Barry that she wanted a divorce, but he begged her to stay. Finally, on May 6th, Suzanne told him it was over. Three days later, Suzanne disappeared.

For an entire year, investigators tracked Barry’s movements and gathered evidence of his involvement. In May of 2021, Barry Morphew was arrested and charged with Suzanne’s murder. The unsealed arrest affidavit was packed with information supporting the charges, and Barry’s trial was set for May of 2022.

However, as the trial was about to begin, the district attorney’s office filed a motion to dismiss the case so that they could have more time to search for Suzanne’s body. The judge dismissed the case without prejudice, which meant that prosecutors could still file charges against Barry in the future.

On September 22, 2023, a search team from an unrelated investigation stumbled upon human remains in a shallow grave in the desert of Saguache County, 45 miles south of the Morphew home in Maysville and the opposite direction from where Suzanne’s bike was found. Dental records were used to confirm that the remains indeed belonged to Suzanne.

In a statement to the press, Suzanne’s family thanked the detectives and search teams who assisted with the investigation. “Over the last three years, countless hours have been spent looking for Suzanne by a determined group who have never given up hope that she would be found. The memories of her gentle spirit and wonderful smile have been a constant presence since her disappearance to all who knew and loved her… We look forward to finding long-awaited justice for Suzanne in the successful prosecutions of those involved in her disappearance.”

As of this recording, prosecutors have not refiled any charges against Barry Morphew, nor have charges been filed against any other potential suspects. If you have any information about Suzanne’s case, please contact the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office at 719-539-2596.

Our next case is that of Harmony Montgomery from episode 025. On New Year’s Eve 2021, authorities announced that seven-year-old Harmony had been missing since October of 2019, a full two years before her disappearance was reported to law enforcement. She had slipped through the cracks of the child welfare system, and no one seemed to have any answers.

Harmony and her brother were placed in foster care in July of 2018 after their mother was no longer able to care for them. While Harmony’s brother was eventually adopted, Harmony was sent back to live with her father, Adam Montgomery, in February of 2019, despite Adam’s extensive history of criminal charges and drug use. The timeline of Harmony’s case is convoluted, so I encourage you to listen to the full episode for all the details, but suffice it to say, there was plenty of evidence to show that Harmony was abused at the hands of her father and his wife Kayla. The last known sighting of Harmony was in October of 2019, when police were called to the house and were able to confirm that the little girl was there.

On January 4, 2022, Adam and Kayla Montgomery were arrested and charged with multiple felonies, including assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Eight months later, the New Hampshire Attorney General announced that they believed Harmony had been murdered, and her case was officially named a homicide investigation.

In October of 2022, Adam Montgomery was charged with Harmony’s murder. Court documents show that Kayla Montgomery admitted to lying to police at Adam’s request before eventually telling investigators that Adam had beaten Harmony to death on December 7, 2019. Kayla testified that after being evicted from their home, she and Adam and Harmony had been living in their car, and Adam was angry that Harmony kept having bathroom accidents. Kayla said that Adam punched Harmony in the face and head over and over again until she lost consciousness. Hours later, they realized that the little girl was dead. According to Kayla, Adam stuffed her body in a duffel bag and spent the next three months moving it around from place to place, including a ceiling vent at a homeless shelter and a freezer at his workplace.

Kayla took a plea deal and agreed to testify against Adam in exchange for a lesser sentence on perjury charges. She is currently serving 18 months in prison.

Earlier this month, Adam Montgomery finally went to trial. On February 22, 2024, a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder, second-degree assault, falsifying physical evidence, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with witnesses and informants. He faces a sentence of 35 years to life, which a judge will hand down later this year.

After the verdict was read, Harmony’s mother Crystal told reporters that she was relieved, but still determined to find her daughter. “I’m finally feeling relieved that there’s some justice being served. Obviously, it’s not over, but I have a little bit of peace knowing that he’s being held accountable, because he thought he was so untouchable and that she didn’t matter and nobody would miss her, and he was so wrong. He was so wrong… I’m never going to give up. Not until she’s home and not until things are changed, because this can’t keep happening…”

Investigators are still actively seeking leads that may result in the recovery of Harmony’s remains. If you have any information, please contact the Manchester Police tip line at 603-932-8997.

The next case is that of Elnaz Hajtamiri, whose abduction I covered in episode 042. In late 2021, 37-year-old Elnaz had been dealing with abusive and harassing behavior from her ex-boyfriend, Mohamad Lilo. In spite of Elnaz contacting the police multiple times, Mohamad’s behavior escalated. On December 21, 2021, Elnaz was attacked in the parking garage of her condo, but was saved by a passerby. In the wake of the attack, Elnaz packed up and left town, moving in with relatives in Wasaga Beach, Ontario. But unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of her troubles.

On the evening of January 12, 2022, three men dressed in police gear knocked on the door, claiming to have an arrest warrant for Elnaz. Suspicious, Elnaz’s relative tried to call 911, but the men quickly overpowered him, rushing into the house and grabbing Elnaz. They dragged her barefoot through the snow and threw her into the back of a white SUV. Then, they were gone.

The Ontario Provincial Police launched an investigation into the abduction, quickly connecting it with the previous attack on Elnaz. Mohamad Lilo was arrested and charged with criminal harassment, but he was released on bail shortly thereafter. Elnaz’s family has spent the two years since spreading awareness of Elnaz’s disappearance and hoping for her return.

During that time, Ontario police have charged at least seven individuals in connection with the December parking garage attack and the January abduction. In November of 2023, Mohamad Lilo was officially charged with first-degree murder in Elnaz’s case. He is currently awaiting trial in Ontario, and authorities continue to search for Elnaz.

If you have any information about the abduction of Elnaz Hajtamiri, please call the dedicated tip line at 1-888-728-3415. If you are outside of Canada, you can submit a tip online at There is a $100,000 reward for information leading to her recovery.

Next, there is a sad update in the case of Brandon Sheckels, whose story I covered in episode 051. According to local news reports, Brandon was last seen on August 2, 2022, when he left his home on Shangri-La Drive in Northeast Knoxville, Tennessee. According to a Facebook post by his cousin Stephanie, Brandon left the house around 8pm to go for a walk. After that, no one knows what happened.

For nearly a year and a half, Brandon’s family waited, hoping that he would return home. Unfortunately, it would not be the outcome they hoped for. On January 25, 2024, a Knoxville Police officer participating in a training session discovered Brandon’s remains in the woods behind an old gas station on Rutledge Pike. He was just a mile away from home.

According to the family, the medical examiner’s office has not yet determined a cause of death and told them that because of the state of his remains, they may never know the truth. In a statement on GoFundMe, his aunt Stacy wrote, “We are glad to have him home, but we are devastated by this outcome. Brandon was a loving, kind, gentle soul who never met a stranger and touched the lives of many with his kindness, laughter, and warmth.”

Our final update is in the case of Kathleen Henry and Veronica Abouchuk, which I covered in episode 079. The story began in September of 2019, when a woman called police to report that she had found a camera SD card on the street in Anchorage, Alaska. When she took the card home to inspect it, hoping to find the owner, what she found horrified her: multiple photographs and videos of what appeared to be a brutal murder.

Investigators combed through the files, videos and images of a woman being beaten and tortured, then wrapped up and driven away. Two days after discovering the horrific footage, police were notified that a body had been discovered along the Seward Highway south of Anchorage. The remains had been left out in the elements for so long, it would take dental records to confirm the identity – 30-year-old Kathleen Henry. Investigators believed that she was the woman in the videos.

Meanwhile, investigators were using the videos and images from the SD card to figure out the identity of their suspect. They were able to determine that the man who had tortured and killed Kathleen was Brian Steven Smith, an Anchorage resident originally from South Africa. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

However, while in custody, Smith told detectives that Kathleen wasn’t his only victim. He claimed that sometime in 2018, he had shot a woman in the head and dumped her body off Old Glenn Highway just north of Anchorage. Following this information, police were able to connect Smith to the death of 52-year-old Veronica Abouchuk, whose remains had been discovered several months earlier.

Brian Steven Smith was charged with the murders of both Kathleen and Veronica, and on February 5, 2024, his trial finally began. After nearly three weeks of testimony, during which the jury was shown footage of Kathleen’s murder, Smith was found guilty on 14 charges, including first- and second-degree murder, sexual assault, and tampering with evidence. An aggravated factor of physical torture was applied to the first-degree murder of Kathleen. Smith will receive a mandatory life sentence.

After the verdict, Veronica’s sister Rena told reporters that the families were relieved. “They’re at peace now. That’s the most important thing. And, for me, her sister… and Kathleen’s family, it’s been too long, and today is a life celebration and a spiritual celebration.”

Investigators are still looking into the possibility that there may be other victims of Brian Steven Smith. If you have any information, please contact Anchorage Crime Stoppers at 907-561-7867.

As I mentioned at the top of the episode, all of the original recordings for these cases are linked in the show notes, and you can find source materials and transcripts on the podcast website. If you have any other updates or know of a case that I should cover, please reach out to me through email or through the contact form on Thank you for your support, and I’ll be back next week with a brand new episode.